The 13 Best Heat Protectants for Hair of 2023

Don't style your hair without one

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Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil

Byrdie / Kelsey Clark

Color and heat styling contribute to hair damage, leaving hair looking dull and frizzy. Applying a heat protectant spray, oil, or cream can repair this damage, even on color-treated hair. “Heat protectants act as a protective barrier between your hair and a hot tool, protecting it from burning, drying out, and becoming dull," explains celebrity hairstylist Alex Brown. "It will also help smooth the cuticle and leave hair looking shiny and healthy.”

We spent hours researching the top-rated and best-reviewed options to find the best heat protectants for hair. We combined our findings with stylist recommendations and hands-on testing to compile this list.

Testing In Progress

Our team is currently testing dozens of the best heat protectants for hair in our Manhattan-based Lab. We are rating each product on how easy it is to apply, how well it protects against heat styling, and the overall texture, feel, and finish it leaves behind. We will update this page with our top picks at the conclusion of the testing period. Stay tuned.

Best Overall

Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray

5
Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Provides UV protection

What We Don't Like
  • In an aerosol can

We love the heat protection this lightweight spritz delivers, but we also love its versatility. It can go on wet or dry hair (the ideal option when you want to use your straightener for a quick touch-up on second-day hair)—plus, it even works as a UV protectant, too. Also nice: It delivers mirror-like shine, no matter which way you use it. During testing, we noticed that it instantly made hair look glossy and healthy after application.

Price at time of publish: $32

Active Ingredients: Octafluoropentyl methacrylate (OFPMA) | Hair Type: All | Size: 5.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

living proof restore instant living protection spray

Byrdie / Ashley Rubell

Best Budget

Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic

Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic

Odele beauty

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Light, naturally-derived fragrance

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Nozzle can be hard to spray

This is the hero SKU from one of team Byrdie’s fave haircare brands to launch as of late. TBH, we didn’t realize that it even protected against heat until we read the fine print, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn it does. Plus, it guards not only against heat but also damage from environmental factors, and, per the name, works miracles when it comes to detangling even super stubborn snarls. And the price/value you’re getting can’t be beaten. Senior Commerce Editor Jill Di Donato especially loves this pick to use on her toddler's curly hair because it smooths tough knots and has a clean formula.

Price at time of publish: $11

Active Ingredients: Amino acids, plant proteins | Hair Type: All | Size: 8 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore

Pantene Pro-V Heat Primer Thermal Heat Protectant

4.5
Pantene Pro-V Heat Primer Thermal Heat Protectant

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Mist could be finer

Maybe you use hot tools daily and go through protective products like water, or maybe you just don’t like to spend big bucks on your haircare routine. Either way, this lightweight drugstore staple is a great choice. Mist it lightly all over pre-styling and let the protective polymers in the formula do their thing, protecting hair from temps up to 450 degrees.

Price at time of publish: $11

Active Ingredients: Vp/methacrylamide/vinyl imidazole copolymer | Hair Type: Fine, thin | Size: 6.4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Hair

Oribe Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield

Oribe Balm D’Or Heat Styling Shield

Amazon

What We Like
  • Has UV protection

  • Decreases frizz

  • Moisturizing

What We Don’t Like
  • Might be too heavy for fine hair

Not only does this option protect hair from up to 450 degrees, but it also helps control frizz and add back moisture to dry hair, says Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She also lauds it for containing good-for-your-hair ingredients (biotin, maracuja oil), but also working well either on its own or layered with other products. Because of the creamy formula, fine hair types should only use a small amount throughout the hair.

Price at time of publish: $45

Active Ingredients: Biotin, maracuja oil | Hair Type: All | Size: 3.4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Thick Hair

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer

4.8
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Decreases frizz

  • Provides UV protection

What We Don't Like
  • Thicker hair types might need something a little heavier

As the name suggests, this product is packed with rich oils (coconut, argan, and macadamia, to name a few) to hydrate and soften super thick or coarse hair. It also works well to tamp down frizz and guards against both heat and UV damage, all without leaving behind any kind of unwanted residue. During testing, we found that it works miracles for dry, frizzy hair—being able to hydrate while staying lightweight.

Price at time of publish: $32

Active Ingredients: Shea butter, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, coconut oil | Hair Type: Straight to curly | Size: 8.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Fine Hair

Kerastase Résistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer

Kerastase Résistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Promotes healthy hair

  • Strengthening

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Can be too heavy for the roots

“This cream-based heat protectant is a must when styling finer or damaged hair,” says Aguirre. “The pro-keratin complex, a blend of protein and amino acids, helps promote healthy hair,” she says. And even though it’s a cream, it won’t weigh down your hair. However, reviewers did note that it could make the hair look greasy if applied to the roots, so just make sure to focus application on your actual strands.

Price at time of publish: $42

Active Ingredients: Pro-keratine complex, ceramides | Hair Type: All, especially good for fine hair | Size: 5.1 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Relaxed Hair

Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant

Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant

Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • In an aerosol can

Although rich argan oil is the key ingredient here, this aerosol spray is surprisingly dry and weightless, which makes it a great pick for relaxed hair. It contains conditioning panthenol, too, and boasts a lovely signature scent that’s so good it'll make you reach for the product daily.

Price at time of publish: $30

Active Ingredients: Argan oil, octylacrylamide/acrylates/butylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer | Hair Type: All | Size: 6 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Curly Hair

Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray

Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal & Heat Protectant Spray

Amazon

What We Like
  • Decreases frizz

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Can leave behind a residue

No matter whether you’re blow-drying and straightening your naturally curly texture or are using an iron to add definition to your curls, heat protectants are especially important for those with curly hair. Enter this pick, which relies on a combo of organic oils to shield hair from heat, add shine, and smooth out frizz. Be sure to apply conservatively however, because reviewers note it can leave a residue if too much is used.

Price at time of publish: $10

Active Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, sacha inchi oil, argan oil, mongongo oil | Hair Type: All | Size: 4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Frizz

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème

Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works for all hair types

  • Smooths, hydrates, and boosts shine

  • Clean, natural formula

What We Don't Like
  • May leave behind slight residue

Frizz got you down? You can count on this protective blow dry cream to keep hair smooth, shiny, and flyaway-free. Designed for all hair types from straight and fine to thick and oily, the formula counts on a trio of nourishing plant oils (read: rosehip, argan, and coconut) to seal in moisture, prevent damage, add shine and prevent pesky frizz before it starts. Plus, it protects hair from heat styling up to 450 degrees, making it the perfect companion for use with your hot tools.

Price at time of publish: $26

Active Ingredients: Rosehip, argan, and coconut oils | Hair Type: All | Size: 4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Colored Hair

Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray

Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray

Amazon

What We Like
  • Protects color

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

Water is hair color’s worst enemy, but heat is a close second. (Not to mention that the more heat-damaged your hair is, the less it'll be able to absorb color evenly.) This hydrating spritz packs a whopping 21 benefits, including, of course, color preservation and heat protection, and works great for all hair types and textures.

Price at time of publish: $49

Active Ingredients: Coconut oil, camelina oil, olive oil | Hair Type: All | Size: 13.5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Damaged Hair

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil

5
Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil

Sephora

What We Like
  • Repairs broken bonds in hair

  • Protects color

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount of product

Heat protectants are a must for preventing future hair stress, but if the damage has already been done and your hair is in need of some extra TLC, reach for this reparative and heat-protecting oil. Like all of the Olaplex products (which Byrdie editors rave about, BTW), it works by targeting and repairing the broken protein bonds in the hair. In short, hair is left smoother, softer, shinier, stronger, and with more vibrant color. The bottle may seem tiny for the price, but just a little bit of this oil goes a long way.

Price at time of publish: $30

Active Ingredients: Bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, grape seed oil | Hair Type: All | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Blow-Outs

Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray

Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray

Amazon

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Sophisticated scent

  • Adds shine

What We Don’t Like
  • May be too heavy for fine hair

Aguirre also loves this option from Oribe, calling it a “game-changer,” especially for unruly and thick hair types. It adds shine, protects from heat damage and helps you create an incredible-looking blowout at the same time, even if you’re blowing out curly hair, she says.

Price at time of publish: $69

Active Ingredients: Rosehip fruit oil, avocado oil, argan oil | Hair Type: All, except fine | Size: 5.9 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Multi-Tasking

LolaVie Glossing Detangler

LolaVie Glossing Detangler

LolaVie

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Light, naturally-derived scent 

  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like
  • Small amount of product

There’s arguably no celebrity whose name is more synonymous with "good hair" than Jennifer Aniston. It’s part of the reason why we jumped at the chance to try her haircare line, including this hero product. It’s an ideal choice for those who like to score multiple benefits from one product; it acts as a shine enhancer, smoothing detangler, styling primer, and heat protectant, all in one. The formula is 99% naturally derived (the heat protection comes from a vegan thermal shield) and touts a subtle citrus scent and super chic packaging, too. While it can seem pricey for its size, reviewers rave that it's the perfect all-in-one product.

Price at time of publish: $26

Active Ingredients: Vegetable ceramides, glycerin | Hair Type: All | Size: 5 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is Living Proof Restore Instant Protection, a multi-tasking styling product that can go on wet or dry hair, making it ideal for second-day heat styling. For a more affordable pick, consider the Odele Leave-In Detangling Tonic, a powerful formula that contains a blend of amino acids and works on heat up to 450 degrees.

Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray
Byrdie / Ashley Rubell

Meet the Expert

  • Shelly Aguirre is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She specializes in precision cuts as well as extensions and is known for helping teach her clients about the best ways to embrace and style their own hair texture.
  • Alex Brown is a celebrity hairstylist and Chicago-based salon owner, who also divides her time between NYC and Los Angeles. A former assistant to Jen Atkin, Alex has styled hair across the world, and her celebrity work includes Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, and Olivia Culpo.
  • John Pulitano is a hairstylist and the co-owner and creative director of Headcase Hair, a salon in Sydney, Australia. He’s been working in the fashion space for over a decade, and you can find his work in various magazine editorials, advertorials, and on the runways of all the international Fashion Weeks.

What to Look For

Application Method

Most heat protectants are sprays, which, when applied correctly, won't weigh down normal or fine hair. If you have thick or curly hair, you may want to opt for a cream formulation—like the Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream—and take some time to work it into your tresses before you turn on your blow dryer.

Humectants

While they’re more often thought of as a skincare ingredient, humectants—hydrating ingredients that attract moisture—can be super beneficial in hair care and are especially good to look for in a heat protectant, says Brown. After all, more moisturized hair equals healthier hair. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are two good ones to look for.

Strengthening Ingredients

According to Brown, it’s also a good idea to look for strengthening ingredients in a heat protectant—they're an added layer of defense against any heat-induced damage. Things such as amino acids, keratin, and wheat protein are all good options. 

FAQ
  • How should you use a heat protectant?

    John Pulitano, a hairstylist and creative director of Headcase Hair, recommends using heat protectants as the first step of your hair care routine post-wash. “Spray liberally onto damp hair before using any other styling products, such as volumizer or smoothing lotions, and then continue with your styling routine,” he says.

    To use a heat protectant on dry hair, “Be sure to apply it thoroughly, as well,” he says. “I like to hold the product about 30 centimeters [about a foot] away, so I can get a nice even coating but no stickiness.” 

  • How important is using a heat protectant?

    If you’ll be doing any sort of heat styling, whether blow drying or using hot tools, Pulitano considers heat protectants to be an essential step in your routine—“especially for colored and damaged hair types. But really, every single person should be using one.” He recommends reaching for products that are lightweight and won’t leave a sticky residue in your hair. 

Living Proof Restore Instant Protection Spray
Byrdie / Ashley Rubell

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She considered dozens of heat protectants for this roundup as well as insights from our testers to compile this list. Our testers evaluated products on efficacy of protection, as well as the product's texture, feel, and finish.

Updated by Jill Di Donato
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Lee Y, Kim YD, Hyun HJ, Pi L quan, Jin X, Lee WS. Hair shaft damage from heat and drying time of hair dryerAnn Dermatol. 2011;23(4):455. doi: 10.5021/ad.2011.23.4.455

  2. Zhou Y, Rigoletto R, Koelmel D, et al. The effect of various cosmetic pretreatments on protecting hair from thermal damage by hot flat ironingJ Cosmet Sci. 2011;62(2):265-282.

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